Sir, why are you taking a picture of the elevator?

Um, because it’s AWESOME, that’s why.

I don’t care if a guy fell out of the 17th floor window and miraculously survived, my friends at the Hyatt Minneapolis rock.

Look at their sweet elevator button. Classic example of making the mundane memorable. I’ve never seen an elevator in all my life with such a great button. (Except maybe The Hughes Group from last year’s post, elevator action.)

Now, I know what you’re thinking: it’s a damn elevator button! Who cares?

I dunno, maybe the guest who’s claustrophobic. Maybe the child who’s crying because the elevator stopped mid-floor. Maybe the person who saw Speed way too many times.

BOTTOM LINE: when was the last time you actually noticed the elevator button, thought it was cool, snapped a picture of it (!), then posted it on your blog for millions of people to see?


What if it wasn’t an elevator button. What if it was your business card?

Seen any cool elevator buttons before? Tell us about them!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

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Adventures in Nametagging: Minneapolis Style

Little did I know that I would be doing staff training at the Minneapolis Hyatt one week after this happened:
Man Falls From 17th Floor at Minneapolis Hotel, Survives

According to the article, a Wisconsin man in town for a dart tournament apparently was goofing around Saturday morning at the Minneapolis Hyatt Regency when he crashed through a window and fell 16 stories.

The man, identified in a police report as 29-year-old Joshua S. Hanson, of Blair, Wis., landed on a roof overhang near the hotel’s main entrance along Nicollet Mall. His most serious injury was a broken leg.

This picture shows the glass from the window, and if you look closely, a wood panel covering the hole in the roof. Wow!

So, other than the obvious looming of such a miracle around the hotel, the training sessions went excellent. Great group of staff at this hotel. Several of the third shift employees told stories about how they dealt with the incident.

They handled it like pros.

Is that the luckiest dart player in the world, or what?

Post a story here about your most memorable hotel incident.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

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Small Ideas = Big Business, Part 3

(To read part 1 of this series, click here!)
(To read part 2 of this series, click here!)

Soda Jerk
Virginia. 1880’s. The characters were: 1) A mischievous young employee at the neighborhood soda fountain, 2) The local doctor who owned the soda fountain, and 3) His beautiful young daughter who drove that boy crazy.

Seeing little future in the lives of the two lovebirds, Doc fired the boy.

Heartbroken, he moved to Texas. But he took with him a unique skill of discovering new fountain drinks by mixing shots of several existing flavors. One afternoon, he found one he liked. Actually, it was one that EVERYONE liked. Including a famous beverage chemist who just so happened to sit down at his counter that very day.

For lack of a better name, patrons dubbed his drink “Dr. Pepper,” teasing the young fountaineer about his long distance girlfriend and her overbearing father.

I’m sure he was laughing too. All the way to the bank!

1. There’s no better creative inspiration than a broken heart.
2. You never know who’s sitting at your counter.
3. Whatever people make fun of you for, find out how to use that to make money.

A Lot Riding on You
Charlie was a curious and inventive 21 year old. Early in his career, he received a government grant to make rubber mailbags. But he found little success. The material melted in hot temperatures.

He worked long and hard to make ends meet. He was imprisoned for non-payment of debts. People called him a crazy man. Living in squalor, Charlie barely could afford to feed his family. Unhappy with their living conditions, his wife finally forbade him from any further experimentation.

Like a typical man, Charlie didn’t listen to her. And on a February morning in 1839 when his wife had gone to the market, he began kneading a batch of rubber over the kitchen stove. Upon her unexpected return, he hastily heaved the batch into the hot stove.

A few moments later he retrieved the charred rubber from the burning pot.

And the rest was history.

It felt like leather. It looked black like sulphur. And it appeared to have the strength to withstand cold and hot temperatures.

On that day, the rubber tire was born. And for Charlie and his family, you could say it was definitely a “good year.”

1. Listen to everybody or listen to nobody.
2. Haste doesn’t always create waste.
3. If everybody says you’re out of your mind, you just might be onto something.

Creativity is cool, huh?

Post your own “Creativity Trio” here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

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Sorry Service vs. Thankful Service

Imagine you’re waiting in line at the airport.

A really LONG line.

BAD NEWS: you’ve missed your connecting flight. There’s no way you’ll make it to your meeting on time.

After about twenty-five frustrating minutes, you finally approach the counter. You throw down your luggage, put your hands on your hips and exclaim, “You know, I’ve been waiting here for nearly half an hour!”

And the first words out of the front desk agent’s mouth are, “I’m sooooo sorry. See, what happened was…”


You don’t want to hear “Sorry.”

Sorry doesn’t cut it.
Sorry doesn’t make you feel better.
Sorry doesn’t put the delicious Triscuit crackers in your stomach, now does it?

NEW RULE: customers don’t want to hear the word “Sorry.”

It’s negative.
It’s usually followed by excuses.
It’s focused on the wrong person. (i.e., NOT the customer)

A great suggestion is to replace “Sorry” with “Thanks.”

Thanking (instead of apologizing) just sounds better. And it demonstrates empathy and concern. What’s more, it immediately puts a positive spin on an otherwise negative encounter.

Let’s go back to the airport example for a minute. Which one of the following phrases would you, as the customer, rather hear?

1. “I’m sorry you’ve been waiting such a long time, Ma’am.”
2. “Thanks for waiting such a long time, Ma’am.”

My money’s on number two. And here’s why.

“Sorry” is problem-oriented. It sucks the positivity out of a conversation. In fact, it’s such a negative word that it actually elicits more of the same.

Here, I’ll prove it to you. Stop reading this article for a sec and say aloud (in your best customer service voice), “I’m so sorry you had to wait…”

Kind of hard to follow that phrase with a positive comment, isn’t it?
Kind or hard to articulate that phrase with a smile, isn’t it?

In most cases, “Sorry” is followed by more apologies, more excuses and more complaints. No good.

On the other hand, “Thanks” is solution-oriented. It plasters positivity into a conversation. In fact, it’s such an optimistic word that it actually elicits more of the same.

Once again, let me prove it to you. Stop reading this article for a sec and say aloud (in your best customer service voice), “Thank you for waiting…”

Aha! Sounds a lot better, doesn’t it?

Kind of hard to follow that phrase with a negative comment, isn’t it?
Kind of hard to articulate that phrase without a smile, isn’t it?

See, in most cases, “Thanks” is followed by more solutions, more positives and more focus on the customer.

So, instead of apologizing, here’s a quick list of ways to thank your customers:

“Thanks for waiting.”
“Thanks for your patience.”
“Thanks for telling me that.”
“Thanks for pointing that out.”
“Thanks for coming in tonight.”
“Thanks for putting up with us.”
“Thanks for bringing that to our attention.”

In closing, let’s explore Sorry Service vs. Thankful Service in a completely different context: dating.

Let’s say you’re on a hot date.

It’s almost midnight. Fearing that you will morph into a pumpkin, your date drops you off at home. And as the two of you approach the front door, he or she says one of the following things:

“I’m so sorry you had to go out with me tonight. I know I was late, and the dinner kind of sucked. And I swear to God that’s the first time I’ve ever run over someone’s cat before!”


“Thanks for going out with me tonight. I had a blast. We really connected! And I would love to do it again sometime.”

What would you rather hear?

Do you give Sorry Service or Thankful Service?

What’s the best example of Thankful Service you’ve received in 2007?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

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Small Ideas = Big Business, Part 2

(To read part 1 of this series, click here!)

In 1882, John Patterson’s retail store was losing money. Unfortunately he couldn’t handle all the transactions himself. There was no way to stop money from leaking. He was headed for bankruptcy.

Then he heard about a strange device being used in Dayton Ohio. It actually enforced the correct recording of daily sales! After incorporating one of these crude machines into his order process, his store began to show a profit. Patterson then wondered, “If this machine is good for a little store in Ohio, wouldn’t it be equally good for stores everywhere?”

Damn right it would. Ever heard of the “cash register” before?

1. Ask yourself, “What if everybody had my product?”
2. You can’t control every part of your business
3. Ohio is the birthplace of, like, everything.

Nice Mustache
Gail was 54 years old when he received his patent for condensed milk. However, the way he came to invent the product was more out of frustration than creativity.

In 1851 he was heading back home from a trip to London. Several of the train’s compartments stored cows in the back to provide fresh milk for the many infants on board. However, the rough terrain made many cows sick. The result: they gave no milk.

Naturally, the babies on board started crying. A lot. Borden because so upset that he walked straight up to the captain and declared, “I promise you this. Someday I will develop a milk that can be carried anywhere in the world!”

Over 150 years later, Borden’s produces billions of food packages a year to over 200 countries worldwide.

1. Pissed off people are good at changing things.
2. Ask what other medium your product could be delivered in.
3. Cows are people too.

Creativity is cool, huh?

Post your own “Creativity Trio” here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

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Sticky Note Your Way to Success, Part 2

This is a continuation of last week’s popular post, Sticky Note Your Way to Success, Part 1.

To quickly summarize, the following motivational, thought provoking questions are to be written with a big fat Sharpie on a sticky note and posted in your office, car or bathroom.

WARNING: this exercise may lead to incredible success.

5. What did you write today? Every time a new friend or client comes to my office, this is the first thing they usually notice. You can’t miss it. I wrote it at the top of my dry erase board last year when I began writing my latest book, Make a Name for Yourself. And since then, it’s worked brilliantly. I have no choice but to stare at it all day! As a result; I haven’t missed a day of writing in a long time.

I suggest this question to everyone. NOTE: you might be saying to yourself, “But Scott, I’m not a writer!” My response to that is, “Everyone is a writer.” Just because you don’t write books or publish a column doesn’t mean you’re not a writer. There’s blogging, publishing newsletters and writing emails. All writing. All valuable. All done daily. Remember, writing is the basis of all wealth.

6. Is everything you know written down somewhere? That which goes unrecorded goes unmemorable. You must write everything down. Everything! Goals, thoughts, lessons learned and especially ideas. For example, how many times have you exclaimed, “Damn! I wish I’d thought of that!” Well, I have some bad news for you: you probably DID think of that. You just didn’t write it down. And that’s why someone else is making money off that idea, not you. Write everything down.

7. On a scale from 1-10, how did I do in my (x) today? Since the day I graduated from college, I’ve been practicing something called “Daily Appointments with Myself.” This 30-60 minute period of morning reflection and relaxation is THE most important part of every day. It resets my attitude, clears my head and prepares me for challenges and opportunities ahead.

One of the key components to this daily appointment is my Success Checklist. I suggest you make one for yourself. Simply write out this question for every major area of your life, both personal and professional. Relationships. Goals. Career. Faith. Health. Whatever you want. But here’s the secret: give yourself an honest assessment of how well you think you did in each area for the day before. Use these numbers to keep record of your improvements over time.

8. What HVA’s did I practice today? That stands for “Highly Valuable Activity.” Your goal is to accomplish three per day. Now, what you consider to be a HVA is up to you. Examples might include meeting with a prospect, writing an article, going to the gym, reading a new book or attending an association meeting. After a while, those numbers start to add up. 3 per day. That’s 21 per week. 84 per month. 1,018 per year. Wow! With that many Highly Valuable Activities, you’ll be certain to achieve your #1 goal for 2007!

9. What’s next? Back in the day when I used to sell furniture, my boss would post little sticky notes all around the store asking this two word question. According to Pam, it kept her employees on task. Especially when business was slow. “What’s next?” reminded us that there was always something to do: sweep, rearrange couches, follow up on special orders or study the new product catalogues. What’s more, this question works for small things and big things alike. Asking, “What’s next?” on a big-picture scale is a valuable brainstorming acitivty to evaluate the growth of your business.

How do you self-motivate?

Post your 3 best sticky-note success statements here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

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Happy Nametag Day Everybody!

For the second year in a row, Colchester, CT is celebrating Annual Nametag Day!

Jason Cohen and I (mainly Jay) started this holiday back in 2006.

This year we actually got a decent amount of local press, thanks to all the hype around my new friend Joe Porcelli from Neighbors for Neighbors who (unrelated, believe it or not) wore a nametag every day for the past year. Way to go Joe!

In order to make it as easy as possible for people to get involved, the Wyndham Price Agency and the Norwich Bulletin are both providing free nametags, which will be available for pickup Thursday through Tuesday, January 18th – 23rd, at many locations around town, including Colchester Parks & Recreation and a number of local businesses.

Also, this is pretty cool:

The Norwich Bulletin will attach a fantastic nametag ready to use right on their front page! There will also be a complimentary edition of the Norwich Bulletin delivered to all non-subscribers in Colchester. Everyone in Colchester will receive a nametag and a Norwich Bulletin on either January 20th or January 22nd.

Nametags and special promotions will be available at many supporting businesses. See the growing list below!

The fun does not end there! Colchester Parks & Recreation will be hosting a wrap up Nametag Day event on Tuesday, January 23rd from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Colchester Youth Center located on Norwich Ave. Come and share your unique experiences of wearing the nametag for a day and meet new people and join us for some “getting to know you” type activities!

Way to go, Colchester. Hopefully more cities will follow suit!

Would you and your town want to participate in Annual Nametag Day?

If you’d like to be a participating city for Nametag Day ’08, please contact Jason Cohen at Colchester Parks & Recreation.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

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Sticky Note Your Way to Success, Part 1

There’s no such thing as a motivational speaker.

Not even Tony Robbins, Zig Ziglar, Jim Rohn, Norman Vincent Peale or Napoleon Hill were motivational speakers.

Sure, those were five highly motivated dudes. And sure, those guys definitely spoke about the topic of motivation.

BUT REMEMBER THIS: the only person in the world who can motivate you is YOU.

As an author, speaker an entrepreneur myself, I’ve become skilled at self-motivation.

See, I work alone. No boss. No coworkers. No clock-in box.

Just me.

And in my experience, self-motivation works best under three conditions:

1. When it’s visual
2. When it’s daily
3. When it punches you in the face

I’ve found self-questioning to be an extremely effective technique. First of all, it makes you think critically and creatively. Secondly, it keeps you personally accountable. Lastly, questioning is THE most valuable tool in your communication arsenal to gain knowledge and clarity.

NOTE: before I share my list of questions, I need you to stop reading this blog for a minute.

Would you do something for me? Please go grab a stack of sticky notes and a thick marker. When you read through the list, write each question on a sticky note and post it on your desk, computer, phone or bulletin board. This is key. It’s the best way to make these questions work to your advantage. You need to be able to see these self-motivators all day.

OK. Go get your supplies…NOW! (Don’t worry; I’ll wait. It’s not like I’m gonna go anywhere. Besides, I don’t even have a boss, remember?)

Cool. Welcome back! Let’s get crankin’ with those questions:

1. Is what I’m doing today going to bring this customer back tomorrow? There’s no business like repeat business. And even when you say no, you’re still marketing. So be sure your words and actions are unforgettable. In the process, you will turn your customers into “fans.” Cultivate and cherish these people who loyally love your stuff. Enable them to tell everyone about you, and they WILL come back tomorrow.

2. If everyone did exactly what I said, what would their world look like? This is my all-time favorite. Especially for managers and leaders, this question helps you clarify your philosophy, mission and orders. The key is, once you figure out the answer to this question, then ask yourself the following: “Is what I’m doing or saying giving my people the tools they need to build that world?”

3. Is what I’m doing right now leading to a sale? Poor time management and lack of focus are dangerous adversaries to all business people. Asking yourself this question keeps the idea of sales at the top of your mind. I first posted this sticky note on my laptop about three years ago. Sales have doubled every year since.

4. Is what I’m doing right now consistent with my #1 goal? This question forces you think critically about your primary objective. Sadly, to few businesspeople actually know what theirs is! In fact, I bet if you asked ten random people what their #1 goal for 2007 was, only about half of them would have a definitive answer for you. So, what’s yours? Doubling annual revenue? Achieving membership into the 100% club? Securing five new accounts a week? Whatever your #1 goal is; use this sticky note as an accountability measure. If the answer is yes, keep doing what you’re doing. If the answer is no, stop playing online poker and do something productive.

(5 more questions coming next week…)

How do you self-motivate?

Post your 3 best sticky-note success statements here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

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Small Ideas = Big Business, Part 1

So I just came across a book from 1959 called Ideas That Became Big Business, by Clinton Woods.

It was a buck. How could I not buy it?

I finally finished it today. And it might be the most fascinating book on creativity I’ve ever read.


Among Woods’ 100+ examples, nine stories stood out in my mind.

Each had several valuable lessons within. This will be the first in a four part post called Small Ideas = Big Business.

The Soil is Too Rich!
In the late 1830’s, a master mechanic and blacksmith relocated from the rocky-soils of New England to the rich farms of Grand Detour, Illinois. Once he set up shop, he noticed his business primarily repaired the plows of discouraged farmers. After interviewing a score of his customers, he discovered the problem: overly fertile farmland. While it was easy to cultivate, it was not so easy to stop the soil from clinging to the plow.

One day that mechanic visited a local sawmill. The reflection from a shiny broken saw blade caught his attention. Mindful of his frustrated farmers, he wondered: “If I can somehow reshape the blade and form it to the plow, I wonder if it would clean itself as it cut the sod?”

Shortly thereafter, he formed his first – and the world’s first – steel plow.

That mechanic’s name was John Deere.

1. Listen to the complaints of your customers.
2. Find their pain, be their Tylenol.
3. Consider reshaping your design for alternate uses.

Iron Mine or Bust
Swedish miner Carl Wickman faced a problem. Between his mining town of Hibbing and the nearby iron range was a four-mile stretch of unpaved highway. Unable to make ends meet, he started using his own car to haul miners on short trips for fifteen cents a pop.

Soon, word spread throughout the mining town about this new transportation system. Business became so overwhelming that Carl invited a friend to help out. They worked day and night. Eventually, competition arose. And soon, other entrepreneurs began to haul groups of people for up to 90 miles, which, in 1915, was a long way. Then, in 1921, intercity busses were created. Painted gray and appearing slim and trim, they were forever dubbed “The Greyhounds.”

1. Choose a name that’s so obvious and memorable, customers could figure it out by simply looking at your product.
2. Ideas that spread win.
3. If people are copying you, you’re doing something right.

Creativity is cool, huh?

Post your own “Creativity Trio” here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

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The World is a Mirror, Part 19

I is for IDEAS
J is for JOY
M is for MUNDANE
Q is for QUICK
(S is coming next week)
T is for Time

In light of the recent post, Confessions of a Lunch Whore

I was eating at In & Out Burger in LA last week. My friend Dan and I came to the following conclusion: the more successful you become, the more you value every minute of your days.

Not that either of us are big shots or anything. Far from it.

Still, think of it this way.

Let’s say that once a week, you have a meeting, a lunch or coffee with a stranger or potential customer or a lead or who wants to pick your brain or chat or brainstorm ideas or get free advice.

As I mentioned in the other post, unless you think it’s absolutely worth it, be careful not to waste your (and their) time. You are a professional. Your time is valuable and, most importantly, billable. For example:

1 wasted lunch a week
90 minutes a week
6 hours a month
72 hours a year
9 full 8 hour days
2 weeks of work

It adds up, doesn’t it?

Is it possible to have too many meetings?

What’s your policy on meeting with potential clients? Share it with us here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

add to * digg it! * email this post

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